Sunday, October 31, 2010

This is Halloween...Halloween...Halloween

I love Halloween! I have very fond childhood memories or decorating the house, carving pumpkins, creating haunted houses, and trick or treating. I also associate fall carnivals/pumpkin festivals with Halloween. It's also the kick-off of the holiday season and the only thing I love more than Halloween in Christmas (just wait, you'll hear all about it). Anyway, I spent today in "Disney Recovery" which mostly involves napping and drinking tons of water. I also baked pumpkin whoopie pies (more on that later this week) and helped Mom and Dad hand out candy to some of the cutest trick or treaters ever. All in all a successful day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Weekend

So much fun today, but such a long day. I'm so tired I almost fell asleep washing my hair.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

I'm going to Rpcot tomorrow! =). BFFMandy, BFFMandy's mom, PZ, and I are going to the Epcot International Food and Wine festival. It is total awesomeness and I am very excited for this year's new editions: Belgium and South Korea. In honor of our upcoming adventure, I figured it's an appropriate time to post one of my recent kitchen adventures (this will also make me one post away from being caught up in the recipe posts category).
One of my most favorite things at the Food and Wine Festival is the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup from well...Canada. They have this all the time at Le Cellier, the steakhouse in the Canada pavilion, but's just better during food and wine.
This soup does not photograph well, but it taste's amazing.
Le Cellier Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup
¼ pound of Smoked Bacon (finely chopped, if you freeze the bacon for 10-15 minutes you can chop it fairly easily)
1 Medium Red Onion (finely chopped)
½ cup Celery (finely chopped)
½ cup Carrot (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
3 cups of Whole Milk (room temperature-ish, just not refrigerator cold)
2 cups of Chicken Stock (room temperature-ish, just not refrigerator cold)
12 ounces of Grated or Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
3 dashes of Hot Sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup Beer (Supposedly Disney uses MooseHead Lager, I used Yuengling)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute’ the bacon in large, heavy-bottom, non-reactive soup pot over medium heat until lightly browned (the original directions say not to brown it at this point, but it you don't it will never get brown and it will be mushy, chewy gross-ness in your soup).
2. Add Onion, Celery, and Carrots and cook until onions are translucent. (SideNote: Chop you veggie pretty small, not like minced, but still pretty small otherwise they don't cook through and again, it's not good.)
3. Sprinkle in Flour and stir constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in Milk and Stock, a little at a time, blending well to ensure that there are no lumps (do this slowly with a little liquid at a time to start.) Bring the liquid to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and whisk in the Cheese, Hot Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce and Beer. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
5. Serve and enjoy you yumminess.

That's all. More from Food & Wine Festival tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recipe Redux: Butternut Squash Calzones

Ok so do y'all remember the EPIC FAIL butternut squash with orzo, chicken, and bacon? Since I can tell you don't remember let's recap a little bit ago I was feeling especially fall-ish and what should happen to pop-up in my google reader, but a fantastic sounding recipe for orzo with butternut squash sauce, bacon, chicken, and parmesan. It sounded awesome; I was stoked. So I followed the recipe and it was terrible. The whole thing was cold and mushy and tasted overwhelmingly like mushy bacon. Blech!
However, the squash sauce itself was pretty darn good and I figured I could find a way to make it into soup later in the week. Then a better idea. On Tastespotting, a recipe for Winter Squash Calzones. I had to alter the recipe a little to use what I already had, but it was totally awesome.
Butternut Squash Calzones
Original Recipe Here
Dough (I used Publix Pizza dough made fresh in the bakery, it's awesomeness)
1/2 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
 1 cup shredded mozzarella or ricotta
¾ cup chevre, or parmesan, or crumbled feta or another pungent cheese
about ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
tomato sauce for serving, if desired

I had previously roasted and pureed my squash onion and garlic (see previous epic fail recipe explanation). But if you're starting from scratch,
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the the seeds and rub squash with a little olive oil. Cut Onion in half and rub with olive oil. Roast squash, onions and garlic on a cookie sheet cut sides down. Bake until vegetables are soft and easily pierced through. Squash will generally take about an our onion and garlic will likely be done sooner.
- When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop flesh into a larger bowl. (At this point I pureed all the veggies in the food processor). Chop onions and garlic and mix thoroughly with squash to combine. Mix in cheese, (I used mozzarella and goat cheese.)
- Divide dough into four pieces. Press or roll each pieve of dough to desired size (about a quarter inch think). place half to three-quarters cup in on one half of the dough. Fold dough over and press to seal (I used a fork). - Use a fork (the one you used to close the dough will do) to poke the surface of the calzones.
- Place calzones on a greased or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool momentarily. Then Enjoy your awesome creation.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ruined Plans

Remember the squash from a couple weeks ago? The squash that was an epic fail. Well I found a way to make it awesome. AND I planned to tell ya'll about it tonight (cause I made it forever ago and I'm way behind), but alas this is not to be. My eye still really hurts and I can't look at the computer screen long enough to type the post up. *fist shake at the eye health gods*. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow cause I also have Canadian Cheddar and Beer Soup to post about in honor of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm like 98% sure I scratched my eyeball with one of my contact lenses. Blarg!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Movie Night: Life As We Know It

BFFMandy's mom is visiting from Connecticut. We all went to dinner and a movie tonight; BFFMandy and PZ went to see Jackass, and BFFMandy's Mom and I went to see Life as we Know it. It was cute, but very sad for way longer than I expected. Full review tomorrow.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Recipe: Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja

I love my crockpot (technically it's BFFMandy's crockpot, but whatevs). Back to the point, I love the crockpot. I often leave for work very early and don't get back until well after 5PM, the crockpot allows for hot home cooked meals with minimal effort after a long day. My latest Crockpot creation was the cuban classic ropa vieja. I got the recipe here.

1    (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
½   cup water
3    bay leaves
1    tablespoon red-wine vinegar
2    teaspoons bottled minced garlic
½   teaspoon ground cumin
¼   teaspoon salt or to taste
¼   teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1    large onion (for about 1 cup slices)
2    pounds skirt or flank steak
1    red bell pepper (for about 1 cup pieces)   
1    green bell pepper (for about 1 cup pieces)   
1    (14 ½ -ounce) can diced tomatoes, seasoned with garlic and olive oil

- Put the tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper into the slow-cooker. Stir to combine.
- Peel the onion, and cut it into quarters. Thinly slice the onion quarters, and add them to the cooker.
- Place the beef over the onions, and spoon some of the liquid over the meat. (If you are using skirt steak or flank steak, there will be several thin pieces, and they will overlap in the pot.)
- Rinse the bell peppers, and discard the seeds and membranes. Cut the peppers into quarters, then thinly slice them and add the pieces to the pot.
- Pour the diced tomatoes with their juice evenly on top.
- Cover the pot and cook on low until the meat is so tender that it practically falls apart, about 8-10 hour.

SideNote: I added additional salt, cumin, and garlic powder when I got home. Probably about a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and cumin and salt to taste. BFFMandy and I had this for dinner with brown rice (cause we didn't have white rice). It was very tasty.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

S-S-S-Saturday night

My Mom, who is the person I call when I'm on the verge of kitchen disaster, makes the best red sauce on the face of the flipping planet (I don't have a recipe for it, I'm just waxing poetic tonight). Those of you who don't know me, or many other Italians, are probably like red what? I very rarely refer to tomato sauce as spaghetti sauce (although I do occasional just say tomato sauce). Red Sauce in my family is a traditional Italian tomato sauce. I call it red sauce because it's usage it not restricted to spaghetti it pretty much goes on everything; into lasagna, on meatball subs, over ravioli, into baked ziti, over chicken, sausage, or braciole, y'all are getting the picture. It's been a tough week around here and a little comfort food was on the menu. Mom made her superfab, most awesome, red sauce, and yes, we did have spaghetti.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday in Orlando

Dad's home from the hospital! I am beyond relieved. I'm spending the weekend with my family.  Dad and I are doing one of our favorite things; watching football. Go Bulls!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Favorite Fall Flavors

Welcome back to Things I Love Thursday. It has been several weeks I've actually done one of these and I figured it was about time. Since fall weather has finally come to Florida, I figured this week's installment could be about fall foods and flavors. So without further ado; my top eight fall foods/flavors: 

Top Eight Fall Foods/Flavors:
8. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I know this is not specific to fall, but I limit my drinking of this beverage to just a few during the fall months. Smooth, creamy, rich, with just the right amount of salt...this drink is awesome in a cup.
7. Butternut Squash. I adore butternut squash; in general soup is my favorite, but I have an awesome squash calzone recipe coming up.
6. Mushrooms. I know you can get mushrooms all year round, but something about the earthiness of fresh mushrooms makes me think of fall.
5. Caramel. Smooth and velvety; good caramel always makes me think of fall carnivals.
4. Apples. Fall has the best apples. Fresh, crisp, and in a plethora of varieties.
3. Soup/Stew. It's still early in the season, but there is nothing more comforting than coming home at the end of a long say and having a bowl of warm soup or stew on a cold evening.
2. Cinnamon. I love cinnamon it's almost an obsession.
1. Pumpkin anything. Scones, coffee, pie, soup; you name it I'm game.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back in Tampa

I'm back in Tampa after spending yesterday and today in Orlando. Dad is doing better and will hopefully be let out of the hospital tomorrow or Friday. Hopefully, I'll be back to blogging like normal tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dot Dot Dot

I'm so tired I can't think of anything to say. I planned to write about one of my go to chicken dinner recipes, but a double batch of pumpkin scones has done me in so just pictures and a recipe.

Swiss Chicken
I don't know where this recipe originates, Mom taught me to make it without a recipe.
I'm still getting the hang of the picture taking, It tastes a lot better than it looks. Promise.
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (or one for every person you're feeding)
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
4 slices of Swiss cheese (I clearly did not used sliced cheese. Use whatever you have. It will still taste awesome.)
2/3 c to 1c Italian flavored breadcrumbs (I use two handfuls; which is usually enough to form a pretty good layer).

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly coat a 13x9 pan with nonstick spray. Placed chicken breasts in the pan.
3. Spread mushroom soup over the top of the pieces of chicken. Place cheese slices on next and top with bread crumbs.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

That's all I've got tonight.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baking Day: Snickerdoodles

Baking is one of my favorite things. I like to bake just because I can and baking is my go to coping mechanism when I'm feeling especially stressed/anxious/nervous. I've actually said to multiple people  "I just feel like I need to bake something." And Sunday is apparently baking day around here. Today's project was pumpkin scones and I also baked calzones for dinner. It's been a day of successful and yummy kitchen projects. But today's blog is actually about last week's Sunday baking say project. Snickerdoodles!! I love snickerdoodles, they're little pillows of awesome. So last week when I was visiting YoungerBrotherGreg baking time became snickerdoodle time.

Original Recipe Here  
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3.5 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Side Note: I found the sugar/cinnamon mix proportions that I like, you should play with it a little to find what you like best.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla.
 Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Mine were done just right at 8 minutes (crispy around the edges and soft/chewy towards the center.) Remove immediately from baking sheets.
This was a fabulous start of fall baking project. I kept about a half dozen for BFFMandy and I; the rest went to work with YoungerBrotherGreg.
SideNote: I realized when I uploaded the Snickerdoodle pictures that I'm crazy behind on posting about the stuff I'm cooking and eating. It is very likely this week will be all about food. 


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Night...

I had a different post planned. It was long and thought provoking, but after a long chat with BFFMandy I changed my mind.
That's all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Friday!

Today was a fabulous day. The things that are currently making me smile: It's finally the weekend, it was less than 80degrees when I was driving home today (hi Fall), and Sushi! Here's looking at super fun weekend plans.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today's Highlights

It's Friday Eve
Book Club tonight was fun. Fun people and good conversation. (also fellow GH lovers)
Made ropa vieja in the crockpot. It was totally fab.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trip to Pittsburgh: Primanti Brothers

So, after a long morning of shopping in the Strip District where do you go at lunch for a true taste of Pittsburgh? If you've seen any Primanti Brothers. The famous sandwich shop that started the Pittsburgh tradition of putting the coleslaw and the french fries right on top of the sandwich. This was my first trip to Primanti's; though not my first p-burgh style sandwich.

The restaurant appears to be your standard bar/grill. It's tucked into one of the older buildings in the Strip where it's been for something like 90 years. It's cramped, there are long wooden booths tucked against the walls and battered and scarred wooden tables scattered throughout the restaurant. It gives the whole place an ambient friendliness. There are actually two sides to the restaurant; on one is the grill behind the bar so folks can watch their food being made and on the houses a bar and several TVs (during our Monday daytime visit they were tuned to the Ryder cup and ESPN).
The restaurant oozes casualness. The menus were large print signs on the walls throughout the restaurant and I'm 98% certain I only saw people get silverware with soup. Overall it was a nice relaxed place to grab lunch. My one issue with the atmosphere was that it was self seating (which is not a problem by itself), but someone in the front room was shouting/being generally unpleasant at folks to just take a seat in the back where the were no open tables. If you're going to tell people to go sit in the back someone should sort of be paying attention to whether tables are available.

The Eats:
Ok so the famous sandwiches.
The cross section of this gigantic sandwich
After some serious debate I decided on the corned beef. Usually when I'm having a Pittsburgh style sandwiches I'm having fried fish, but I was worried that the bread wouldn't be able to stand up to fish. So corned beef. I love that the sandwiches came out on wax paper; it was totally laid back and I'm sure it makes cleaning up a breeze.
First, the things I loved. The bread itself was very good; it was soft, squishy, and everything good Italian bread should be. The corned beef was tasty, well seasoned, and warm. And the french fries had a good flavor. And in general the corned, beef, tomatoes, and vinegary coleslaw were all good together.
Second, the things I wasn't a fan of. The fries had good flavor, but mine were cold and sort of mushy. I wasn't expecting super crisp. but hot with a little texture would've been good. The other thing I wasn't a huge fan of was the coleslaw; let me preface this by saying that most of the time I love Pittsburgh style coleslaw, but the slaw at Primanti's was way overpowering. The coleslaw had a great crunch and added good texture, but it tasted like the flavor or the cabbage overpowered the vinegar and other spices.
It was a good experience for the most part, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. In the future I'd rather go to the Back Door Tavern in New Brighton. The have great food and an extensive beer list.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Recipe= Not Good

I tried out a new recipe tonight. Butternut squash orzo with chicken, bacon, and parmesan. It was an epic fail. The whole thing was mush and pretty much all I could take was bacon which got soggy in the mushy mess. The chicken was actually pretty good and I left some out of the pasta to use for something else later. At least the wine was good.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I've been working on my Primanti Brothers post all effing night and the damn interwebz deleted it. I was like 80% finished and for whatever reason even though the draft was saved it's no where to be found. I'm to tired to start over at almost midnight. ARGH!!!!!!!!

Not so smiley tonight.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Counting Down to the Holidays.

People who know me, know I love the holidays. It's a serious obsession. Anyway, my point is that at dinner tonight I was discussing with YoungerBrotherGreg and I realized there are only about 44 days till Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. Yay!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

FoodFest2010: The Strip District and Grandma's Birthday

So here's your history lesson for today. Pittsburgh's Strip District dates back to the early 19th century when it was home to mills and factories. The area has weathered the Great Depression and eventually the area shifted focus from steel to wholesale produce and now to "urbanization" with clubs, restaurants, and specialty shops crammed in amongst the local royalty. That is the end of the history lesson.

Monday morning we left my grandmother's bright and early to visit The Strip. Two parents, one brother, two uncles, two aunts, one cousin, and me; nine people in two cars once everyone was settled for the drive (My grandma was supposed to go as well but wasn't feeling well and wanted to rest before her big celebration dinner). The drive from my grandmother's to downtown P-burgh is b-e-a-utiful, especially in the fall. It's through the mountains and over several rivers, you have to cross both the Ohio River and the Beaver River as well as a few smaller rivers I can never remember the names of. The water is usually slate gray in the fall, almost the same color as the sky only darker. This backdrop makes the trees and leaves more vivid. Despite the constant rain and no sun it really is a beautiful time of year to visit Pennsylvania. And I now I'm boring myself with all the talk about the leaves. So...

Getting to the food and the shopping. We started out at Mon Amiee, actually that's not true... our first stop was at a street vendor selling Steelers/Pens gear. Mom got a t-shirt and a couple people got sweatshirts, because it was a lot colder out than they thought it would be. Then we dashed into De Luca's to use their bathroom (this is a big no-no, but it was a long car ride). We've been to De Luca's before; it's very inviting on a cold day. Filled with bright colors, fantastic food, and friendly staff; it's one of the institutions on the Strip. We hit another Pittsburgh merchandise store (Yinzerville) where Mom bought Steelers drink umbrellas and a really cute gift for one of the cutest munchkins on earth (but I can't give it away cause I'm pretty sure it's gonna be a Christmas gift). Then we went to Mon Amiee.
Previously they've stocked these crazy good salted caramels, but they did not have them. I got a chocolate bar, with bacon. I didn't buy anything else because the cashier/manager was kind of snippy and rude. I haven't tried the chocolate bar yet, it's still in my purse, but I'm totally looking forward to it.

Next up was Enrico Biscotti. OMG. Can I just tell you these people have the best biscotti on the place of effing planet. I buy  a dozen and freeze them and then pull them out one at a time to enjoy as a special treat. The bakery is warm and inviting and it smells absolutely amazing. It's totally the kind of place you'd want to linger with a cookie and a cup of coffee, if the whole store wasn't the size of my kitchen. Whatever, doesn't matter, they still produce some of the best cookies I've eaten. They also have biscotti baking classes, for those of you who live anywhere near the store. And they ship! So yay for that.
Our group tumbled back out onto the street and made our way to the Pennsylvania Macaroni company. I have been to this store before, but it never ceases to amaze me. It's part grocery store, part specialty market. The closest thing we have in Tampa is Whole Foods, but even that is anywhere near the same as experiencing this store. Let's just go with the pictures...
As soon as you walk in the door they have barrels of dry goods and bins of spices. It smells fantastic; like every Italian kitchen I've ever been in times about 100.
They had a whole wall of extracts and flavored oils.
And racks and racks of olive oil.
OMG! So this just amazed me. They had canisters of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and people were just coming in and filling bottles, wither ones they bought at the store or refilling the ones they brought in from home.
There st least two containers of both Italian and Spanish olive oil.
They also have an entire room of fresh cheese, meats, olives, and prepared food.
This was my other favorite part. They were selling freshly made pasta in the produce section. The had everything from traditional spaghetti to cilantro & lime linguine.
We stopped for lunch at Primanti Brother's. That's another post though. After lunch we made our way down the rest of the strip. Wholey's Grocery, Fudgie Wudgie's a totally fab candy store that always has really creative chocolate dipped creations, more Steelers’ stores and I finally got a t-shirt, and an interesting kitchen supply store. There are tons of other stores in the area that I'm sure we missed, but it was time to pack it in and head back to Grandma's.
It was a good afternoon, there were more Snyder’s Chips. Have I mentioned that my family loves those? We always seem to congregate around the dining room table and we spent the afternoon talking and helping some of my younger cousins with homework. By the time everything was wrapped up it was almost time to go to dinner.
We had dinner at Pagley's Pasta & More in New Castle, Pennsylvania. All said and done with aunts, uncles, grandkids, great-grandkids, and extended family there were almost thirty people jammed around two tables. It's always good when we all have dinner together like this, but it is difficult to talk to everyone. The food was pretty good. My Dad definitely hit the jackpot with angel hair with garlic oil, hot sausage, and hot peppers. It was tasty, but I don't think I could've eaten the whole bowl. It was really spicy. I had veal piccata; it was good.
The veal was crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. The sauce was creamy and tangy and full of lemon flavor. It was very good. It came with pasta which was not as good as the veal.
I for got until I was uploading pictures: I also had pasta e fagioli, it was very good. The soup was rich, creamy, tomatoy, and cheesy. I also forgot to take a picture of it until I was done. My Bad.
Then we sang Happy Birthday and had cake. Everybody wish Grandma a belated Happy Birthday.
After dinner most people trekked back to Grandma’s. We spent the rest of the night talking and eating pumpkin flavored whoopee pies and traditional Italian cookies. It was a good way to spend our last night in Pennsylvania.

Smiles. =)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I'm halfway done with my post about The Strip District in Pittsburgh and my Grandma's birthday. My head is killing me tonight. So I'll finish it and post it tomorrow. Happy Friday Eve.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

FoodFest2010 (or My Trip to Pennsylvania)

Trips to visit my family in Pennsylvania are not like our regular family vacations. On a usual vacation the day goes something like drag your rear end out of bed at zero dark thirty, breakfast, go/do/see until you’re too exhausted to move, a few hours of sleep, repeat. I usually need a few days off to recuperate when I get home. Vacations to Pennsylvania are different. In Pennsylvania we eat, and talk, and eat some more, and talk more, and eat again. I refer to these vacations as FoodFest. Ya’ll know I love food and that I love to eat; I come by this pretty naturally because I’m from a family of foodies/eaters/cooks. In fact the first thing we did when we got off the airplane was eat. Well the second thing; the first was to buy a birthday card for my grandma and the second was to eat a bag of Snyder’s Potato Chips (we don’t get them in Florida, they’re pretty good for potato chips.)

Our first food stop was the Springfield Grille in Mars, Pennsylvania. We met with my Dad’s family; his cousin’s wife Diane, their daughters Denise and Donna, Donna’s husband Dan, and two of the cutest munchkins on the face of the planet. It’s always totally fabulous to see them; I really enjoy chatting and catching up with everyone. We laughed and joked and continuously checked our phones for updates on the Steelers game. And of course we ate. We started out the meal with a combo platter that had shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, slices of smoked Gouda, and brie with rosemary garlic toast.

No before picture, because I'm a bad blogger.

The crab cakes were probably my favorite part. Fresh, with lots of crag, and well formed. The brie was tasty, but I’m still looking for the rosemary and garlic in the toasts. Then I had butternut squash soup. It was really very good. It was smooth and full of flavor. The soup tasted like fall and Thanksgiving, I was in love from the first bite to the last.
Great Soup for Fall
They also had spicy turtle soup, which I didn’t have because well I’m not that big of a fan of “spicy” as a flavor. Brother Bear had it though and he said it was pretty good. For my main course I had Seafood Pappardelle. It was out of this world.
The pasta was combined with shrimp, scallops, and clams; then topped with tomatoes, parmesan, and a white wine butter sauce. Both the pasta and the seafood were perfectly cooked. The sauce was tasty, though I wish it had been slightly thicker, garlicky and mildly sweet from the wine. The tomatoes were fresh and full of end of summer flavor.

After lunch we drove out to my Grandma’s house. Most of my mom’s family still lives in western Pennsylvania near where my mom and her siblings grew up; so when we go up we get to see all my aunts and uncles together. It’s a really great time getting everyone together at the table to talk, joke, and catch up. And of course there’s always food. We spent the afternoon watching the end of the Steelers game (boo Ravens!) and talking about life, work, and our plans to go into Pittsburgh the next day. My grandmother fed us a variety of cheese and pepperoni and Coke throughout the afternoon. There was more talking about my parent’s trip to New England (which is consecutive to our trip to Pennsylvania) and then dinner.

 It’s very familiar the way people drop in and out to eat at my Grandmother’s. It’s always been that way, it’s like she sends out a text message when all the food is on the table and people either show up eat and leave and then more people show up. It’s always been that way for as long as I can remember. Sunday night we had a traditional Italian dinner; though there are no pictures because I left my camera in the car. My Aunt Jennie brought stuffed banana peppers, which I’m told were very good…but again that spicy thing, and Italian wedding soup. The soup was comfort in a bowl; eating Wedding Soup instantly reminds me of the holidays and cooking with my mom and all the times my mom has made that soup throughout the fall and winter.  Then my Grandmother made homemade red sauce, meatballs, and lasagna. It was delicious and unusually decadent since I don’t usually have pasta two meals in a row. The whole meal was capped off with my Grandmother’s prize-winning Chocolate Raspberry Cake; which everyone is trying to convince her she should indeed enter in the State Fair after winning at the County level.

All this food and it was only one afternoon. The next day was our trip to the Strip District downtown and my Grandma’s birthday dinner (which will be a separate post).

Smiles. =)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Back in Florida

I'm back. Just a few quick notes tonight:
1.) I dislike travel days; because I hate flying in general and I hate that you lose a whole day for an effing 2hr flight. Overall though the flight was good (the business class upgrade helped a lot).
2.) I'm exhausted, like go to bed at 9PM exhausted.
3.) Happy Birthday to Jenn D. Hope you had a great day and that you have a fabulous year to come!
4.) First post on P-burgh tomorrow. 

Smiles. =)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Last Night in Pennsylvania

I've been packing up my stuff to go back home tomorrow. I know I promised pictures and what not today, but wi-fi here is very limited. I've been kicked off the hotel's network like four times already in the last half hour (I'm typing at lightning speed to get this up.) I'm planning posts on FoodFest2010, Primanti Brothers, and all the other hi-jinks for when I get back (I have lots of pictures.) So that's all for tonight.
Smiles. =)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

...To Grandmother's House We Go.

Foodfest 2010 has begun! I have mentioned this before, but I come from a very boisterous Irish Italian family and one of the things we love to do most is eat and talk and eat some more. Trips to Pennsylvania always seem to turn into eating extravaganzas. Take today for example; pasta two meals in a row (this is highly unusual and does not happen in my regular eating life.) Tomorrow, the Strip District in Downtown Pittsburgh and Dinner for my Grandma's birthday (and pictures/recaps/stories about today's food, promise!).


Saturday, October 2, 2010

An Eventful day...

The great e-reader debate is finally over. *Drumroll please* I chose the Nook! I actually got the reader for my mom, her birthday is next week. I decided on the Nook for a few reasons; the top reasons being the ability to loan ebooks from the library and the touchscreen (I'm just not a fan of the buttons on the new Kindle3.) Mom and I went to Barnes & Noble today and she got the low-down on her new gadget. She now an ebook downloading fiend. I'm glad she likes her birthday gift. We had dinner as a family; just the four of us to celebrate as well (since Mom and Dad are going to be in New England on her actual birthday). Dad made steaks on the grill and we had superfab baked potatoes. We also had Banana Dream Cake from TooJay's (Mom's fav); which made me wonder if I could make a home version...
I spent the middle part of the day running errands and being excited to have a vacation. My flight is early so goodnight.


Friday, October 1, 2010

One Month Down, Eleven to Go

It's my one month blogoversary; I have officially blogged every day for a month! I know I technically started blogging near the end of August, but my blogging project started September first so Yay me!

Today's High: It's Friday and I am officially on vacation. I will be blogging from Pennsylvania later this weekend.

Today's Low: Sushi tonight was not up to par. BrotherBear and I went to Summer Palace and Winter Garden. Usually everything is very good, but tonight it was overly salty and just not as good as usual. (sad face).

Happy Friday.